My Great Aunt Rose took up painting a little over thirty years ago for a brief period of time. She went on a bender, creating about twenty paintings. Her signature subject matter was vases full of flowers, in particular her namesake bloom. I was little, about five or six at the time, and I used to beg her to give me “art lessons” which she would often oblige, showing me how to draw whatever I requested. I was very inspired by my aunt’s art work.
Now that I have my own home, I was excited that she wanted to give me an “Aunt Rose original” for my wall. I picked out a nice canvas painting with textured pink flowers and dark turquoise tones that I thought would brighten up our bare grey walls. I couldn’t wait to get it home and hang it on the wall. The only problem was that the frame was in need of some work.
Most of Aunt Rose’s paintings were done in the 1980s. I’m sure the ornate, yellow-ivory frame she chose was trendy at the time. The problem is that our home is full of bright, white molding that we have recently installed, so the frame would stick out like a sore thumb if we left it as it was. Additionally, the small canvas was taped onto the frame, and had become a sticky mess over thirty years. As my own sort of art project, I decided to paint the frame to freshen it up and give new life to Aunt Rose’s art.
Montana Gold Spray Paint (Shock White)*
Interior White Gloss Paint (leftover from painting trim)
Jacquard Textile Color Fabric Paint, White (my frame had fabric)
Blue Painter’s Tape
Offset Clips (we used 1/2inch clips, but your project might be different)
Scotch Double Sided Tape
Scotch Dust Cover Paper
Picture Hanging Kit
Painting the Frame
The frame had great ornamental designs and it gave a feeling of importance to the art. I really loved it. It was in good shape, despite a good bit of grime. The painting had been sitting in a neglected corner for many years, so dust had settled into the crevices. My first step was to clean it with a little water. After a couple rounds of cleaning with a rag, I got a good bit of the dirt off and was ready to paint.
I started by taping off the parts I didn’t want painted (the frame had an inset with fabric and gold plastic). I took the frame outside and then sprayed it with a coat of white spray paint. *I’m not sure this was a good move. While I got a nice base coat to cover the surface, there was some slight bubbling in the paint. Pat seemed to think this was from outdoor moisture. I sanded the paint down as best I could and continued with a couple thin coats of the same interior gloss paint we used for our baseboards and crown molding throughout the house.
Once the outside of the frame was dry, I removed the blue painter’s tape from the inside portion of the frame. I painted a couple thin coats of white Jacquard Textile paint on the fabric portion of the frame being careful to avoid the gold inset.
Installing Offset Clips
After the frame was completely dry, Pat helped me secure the canvas to it. He’s an old pro at this, having gained lots of framing experience while working at a frame shop after high school and then again as an Illustrator-Draftsman in the U.S. Navy.
He started by using something called “offset clips” to attach the canvas. They come in different sizes, depending on the depth that you need. We only used four clips for this piece of art, since it wasn’t very large. It’s a good idea to place them every six inches or so if framing a larger piece. Pat drilled very small pilot holes so that the screws wouldn’t split the wood. He also used short screws that wouldn’t go through to the front of the frame.
Dust Cover Paper
After the offset clips were in place, we needed to adhere a dust cover to the back of the painting. To start, Pat stuck double sided tape on the outermost edges.
He cut a sheet of dust cover paper that was larger than the frame, put it in place over the back of the frame, and then pressed down along the edges to seal it all around.
Hooking his thumb along the edge of the frame to guide the blade, he cut away the excess dust cover paper. Tip: only extend a small portion of the blade whenever possible. Less blade equals more safety.
This is what the frame looked like from the back when he finished. Very professional!
Installing Picture Hanging Hardware
Next, he installed the ring hangers that hold the wire to the back of the frame.
After drilling small pilot holes (being careful not to drill all the way through), Pat attached the ring hangers about one-third of the way down from the top of the frame, .
To secure the wire, Pat twisted it around the ring hangers and used wire cutters to remove the excess.
This is what it looked like when the wire was fastened on both sides. The wire should have some slack in it, not too tight, or it won’t stay put on a nail. Now it’s ready to be hung on the wall!
We picked out a nice spot near our fireplace for the art. Making the adjustments to the backing of the frame will not only protect the back of the canvas, but it will protect the wall as well.
It’s so nice to have a reminder of my family in our home. I love this piece of art– I think about my Aunt Rose whenever I see it!